Children’s Book Celebrating Nature Wins Prize

HOUSTON, TX—A trilingual picture book about the earth we inhabit, Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth by Jorge Argueta (ISBN 978-1-55885-967-8, hardcover, $18.95), is the winner of the 2023 Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature. Published May 31, 2023, this stirring story celebrating Mother Earth reflects the author’s indigenous roots and appreciation for the natural world.

According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, just 351 of the 3,173 children’s books it received that were published in the United States in 2022 were written by Latinos; only 231 were about Latinos. The Salinas de Alba Award seeks to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that authentically and realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture. In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, Argueta will receive a $5,000 prize. Submissions for the award are accepted year-round.

This award is named after Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017), a mother, grandmother and primary schoolteacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Hermila was educated at the Escuela Normal in Saltillo, Coahuila, and taught at a primary school in Piedras Negras. She married Samuel Alba in 1943 and together they raised 10 children. In addition to various business ventures in Piedras Negras, they pursued migrant farm work in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho before settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. She stressed the importance of education and left a legacy of love and lifelong learning for her nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

JORGE ARGUETA, a Pipil Nahua Indian from El Salvador and the 2023 Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, is a prize-winning poet and author of more than twenty children’s picture books. His Madre Tierra / Mother Earth series celebrates the natural world and is made up of four installments: Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth; Viento, Vientito / Wind, Little Wind (Piñata Books, 2022), winner of the Premio Campoy-Ada given by the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española; Fuego, Fueguito / Fire, Little Fire (Piñata Books, 2019); and Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water(Piñata Books, 2017), winner of the inaugural Campoy-Ada Award in Children’s Poetry. Jorge Argueta is the founder of The International Children’s Poetry Festival Manyula and The Library of Dreams, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy in rural and metropolitan areas of El Salvador. He divides his time between San Francisco, California, and El Salvador.

FELIPE UGALDE ALCÁNTARA, a Mexico City native, illustrated the four books in Jorge Argueta’s Madre Tierra / Mother Earth series, Mother Fox and Mr. Coyote / Mamá Zorra y Don Coyote(Piñata Books, 2004) and Little Crow to the Rescue / El Cuervito al rescate(Piñata Books, 2005).

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Books published under the imprint serve as a bridge from home to school to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.  For more information, please visit

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